Our second submission for the month comes from Jennifer Kirkeby. You can find Jennifer at her blog. This is the first page of her YA novel, PEACEFUL ACRES. My comments will be in purple and I hope you'll add yours. Don't forget to check out what Dianne Salerni had to say at her blog, In High Spirits.
As soon as the front doors slid open, I fully expected my nose hairs to disintegrate from the sharp smell of pee (I think a boy would use the word piss) and Lysol.(Good sensory engagement) That’s how I remembered it from when I saw Grandma in one of these places. God was that depressing. Sad and lonely faces in all stages of decay, slumped over in wheelchairs or forever condemned to hospital beds while staring off into space. And they were the lucky ones. Give me a semi-truck coming eighty-miles-an-hour straight at me any day of the week. This, however, definitely sounds more male than female - imo.
So imagine my surprise when I walked into the lobby. Not only did it look like an expensive hotel, but once I stopped holding my breath, the only smell I noticed was the faint scent of some kind of flower. Of course I still wasn’t convinced. After all, this was my punishment, not a vacation.Community service perhaps? What did he do? I'm curious...
“David Ackerman?” said the girl behind the desk.
“Welcome to Peaceful Acres.”
As she walked towards me, I was hit by unworldly beauty. I don’t mean she was just hot, she was pure perfection. A goddess. Long brown hair and matching eyes. Confident. Spectacular smile. I mean spectacular. I looked at her name tag. Danielle Oleander. She offered her hand as she introduced herself, but if it wasn’t for that name tag winking at me, I probably would have forgotten it. She smelled like lilacs. And had that music been playing since I walked in? I'm no expert, but this doesn't quite sound like a YA guy to me. Let's hope some actual guys show up to offer their opinion.
“Does it hurt?” she asked.
At first I thought she was talking about my hand she was still shaking. Then I realized she was looking closely at my right eye. What's wrong with his eye? Bruised? Do you want to tell us here or save it? Just asking...
“No. Well, a little.” I tried for sympathy in case she wanted to take care of me. lol.
She let my hand go. “Sounds like you were lucky. Your mom said it was quite a car accident.”
“Yeah, it was.” Great. What else did my mom tell her? That I had totaled my sister's car on purpose? Ah. And why would he do that? I'm even more curious.
“I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Thanks,” I squeaked. Again, this sounds more like a girl than a guy. Not that guys don't squeak upon occasion but I think squeaking is more common among girls.
“Follow me, David.”
Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. Famous last words.
My first impression is that this sounds more like a girl's voice than a boy's. But. I do like the voice. I get a good sense of who this person is by the word choices and inner dialogue. I also like the the hints of what happened before to lead up to David arriving at Peaceful Acres; an accident, possible community service, and some sort of injury. These things all make me want to read on and find out what happened and more importantly, why. Why did David crash his sister's car on purpose? The other thing that makes me very curious is the title. Peaceful Acres. I get a huge sense of foreboding, which is emphasized by the last line, "Maybe this won't be so bad after all," and I have a strong suspicion that it is indeed going to be bad. The question is, how? I don't know about you guys but I want to read on and find out!